Whenever we get to a step, we have to stop. Sometimes it’s the curb, or the last step of a flight of stairs, or even the bottom step of a wooden stool the girls use in the bathroom. Emmy lets go of my hand, waves me away, and says, “Suss! Suss!” She means, “Myself! Myself!” Then she hesitates, moves her toe a little off the edge of the step, as if she’s testing the water. I stand there, anxiously waiting, holding out my hand in case she needs it. She takes a big breath, moves her foot off the step, and almost hops off, running with her little fists in the air, in a victory dance. Off to tackle the next challenge for her one-year-old self. She’s on the path to independence, that little toddler of mine.

I could use a dose of that independence; I have a hard time doing new things, especially on my own. It would be very easy for me to stay home and immerse myself in my children and my blog. I’m pretty much an introvert, I guess. I even had a hard time “delurking” and leaving comments on other people’s blogs. What if I sounded stupid, or wasn’t funny enough, or was just plain boring?

In January, a mom I met through preschool invited me to MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). I had always wanted to go, and even looked it up on the Internet to see where my local chapter was. But I never went. I was too chicken.

As I arrived at my first MOPS meeting, I felt like I was stepping off the bottom step. I didn’t want to seem too clingy to my new friend, the mom who had invited me, and I didn’t know anyone else. I’m not very good at introducing myself and the small talk that follows. I took a deep breath and plunged in. It was a good day to attend; it was Spa Day! There was a masseuse who gave me a 10 minute massage, I had a Satin Hands treatment from a Mary Kay representative, and there was breakfast! (Mmm, doughnuts!) I met some really nice moms that day, and I’ve been going back when I can.

I should take more lessons from that kid of mine. She’s pretty smart for a one-year-old.

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